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News and notes from Caps' 5-3 win over Jets

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News and notes from Caps' 5-3 win over Jets

News and notes as the Capitals look back on Wednesday night’s 5-3 win over the Winnipeg Jets and head to Friday’s 5 p.m. showdown with the Tampa Bay Lightning:

Calm Tom: Fourth-line right wing Tom Wilson played just under 12 minutes, took one shot, delivered four hits and blocked two shots in the Caps’ win over the Jets, but it was the restraint he showed in a first-period battle with Winnipeg defenseman Dustin Byfuglien that drew the praise of his coach and teammates.

Wilson was drilled into the Winnipeg net by Byfuglien late in the first period with the Caps trailing 2-1. But instead of chasing Byfuglien down the ice he picked himself up and skated to his bench, drawing an interference penalty that lewd to Alex Ovechkin’s power-play goal.

“That’s good discipline by Tom,” Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom said. “He sucked it up and we got a PP there.”

Trotz said he’s seeing a lot of maturity from his 21-year-old winger.

“Last year, maybe the year before, Tom Wilson is going to the box,” Trotz said. “And that was a huge goal. He got under the skin of one of their top players and we respond and tie the game up. It got them rattled a little bit.”

Caps goalie Braden Holtby said Wilson is learning the fine art of balancing aggression and restraint.

“It’s big,” Holtby said. “I don’t know if Willy in the past would have done that. It’s good. It’s showing maturity. I think he knows he has a bigger role on the team now.

“He plays more minutes, kills penalties. We need him on the ice more than in the penalty box and he realizes that. He’s playing a really hard physical game and getting the other team off their game.”

Kuz-tastic: Evgeny Kuznetsov now has five three-point games this season, two in the last three games. He has earned nine points in his last seven games.

Snarly: Caps defenseman Dmitry Orlov has scored in three straight games and has earned a point in four consecutive games, marking his career-long point streak.

Passing Langway: Defenseman John Carlson (204 points) earned two assists Wednesday night, passing Rod Langway (202) for eighth place on the Capitals franchise list for points by a defenseman . Carlson has 49 goals and 155 assists in 419 career games and now sits 67 points shy of passing Sylvain Cote (270) for seventh on the all-time list.

Other Willy: Justin Williams has scored a goal in four of his last seven games  and has 14 points in his last 17 games.

Nice start: The Capitals improved to 15-5-1 (31 points) this season, marking the team’s second best start in franchise history. Washington posted a 16-5-0 record (32 points) through 21 games in 1991-92.

Home ice: The Caps are 9-3-1 at home this season and are 3-1-0 on their five-game homestand, which ends on Friday. The Caps have earned a point in seven of their last eight games at home (6-1-1) and are 9-1-0 when scoring first and 9-0-0 when leading after two periods.

“We know how to play them now,” Backstrom said of tight games. “We did a pretty good job last season and in the playoffs as well. It’s really important in today’s hockey.”

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Ovechkin looks to match career point streak as Capitals visit Carolina tonight

Ovechkin looks to match career point streak as Capitals visit Carolina tonight

The Capitals visit the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday night at PNC Arena (7 p.m., NBC Sports Washington). Alex Ovechkin can tie his career-best point streak (13 games). Washington (18-9-3, 39 points) has won three straight games. It is the first meeting this year with the Hurricanes (13-13-4, 30 points), who are in sixth place in the Metropolitan Division.                          

Here are four things to watch:

Ovechkin’s Best

Alex Ovechkin has a point in 12 straight games and is one away from matching his career high (Dec. 30, 2006-Feb. 1, 2007). Ovechkin has 19 points (13 goals, six assists) during in this streak and 18 of those have come at 5-on-5 or with the opposition's net empty (three goals). 

Going Streaking

The Capitals have a three-game winning streak and have won 11 of 14 overall. That has allowed them to extend their lead in the Metropolitan Division to three points over Columbus and seven over the New York Islanders and Pittsburgh. Even better for Washington is it has won seven of its past nine games on the road. 

Holtby starts

Interesting decision by Todd Reirden, but he goes with Braden Holtby tonight on the road in the first game of a back-to-back. Division rivalry comes into play here. Holtby gets the Hurricanes while Pheonix Copley likely plays against the Buffalo Sabres at Capital One Arena on Saturday night. Holtby has a .934 save percentage since Nov. 7. He is one shutout shy of tying Olie Kolzig (35) for most of franchise history.   

Injuries mounting

The Capitals will be without defenseman Christian Djoos, who had surgery on his left thigh and will be out “a substantial amount of time,” according to Reirden. Djoos was hurt in the Detroit game on Tuesday. That gives an opportunity to rookie Jonas Siegenthaler, who will play with Madison Bowey tonight on the third pair. Brooks Orpik is not yet back from knee surgery and it could still be some time for him. Expect a recall from AHL Hershey for Saturday's game. The Caps are down to six defensemen. 

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Djoos out indefinitely giving Seigenthaler a chance to cement himself in the NHL

Djoos out indefinitely giving Seigenthaler a chance to cement himself in the NHL

Capitals defenseman Christian Djoos is out indefinitely after undergoing a successful surgical procedure on his left thigh Thursday, the team has announced. Djoos sustained the injury in Tuesday’s game against the Detroit Red Wings.

Djoos did not practice on Wednesday and the team initially labeled him as day-to-day.

Head coach Todd Reirden said after Wednesday’s practice that he would get an update on Djoos’ status later that day from the trainers and was hopeful he could play in Friday’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes.

“He got some treatment instead of going on the ice and hopefully when I get the update from the trainer, he’s headed in the right direction and can be back there on Friday.”

Reirden also said the team would wait to make any recall until they knew Djoos’ status.

The injury, evidently, was worse than feared prompting an in-season surgical procedure. Djoos has four assists in 28 games this season.

Despite Djoos’ injury, however, when asked if there would be a corresponding recall from Hershey, a team’s spokesman told NBC Sports Washington via text, “Not as of right now.”

With Djoos on the shelf and Orpik still on LTIR, this gives Jonas Siegenthaler a chance to cement himself as an NHL defenseman. Siegenthaler looked poised to make the NHL roster after a strong training camp, but Tom Wilson’s suspension forced a number of roster moves that ultimately saw the waiver exempt Seigenthaler reassigned to the AHL. He was recalled later in the season and has impressed with his play.

In five games, Siegenthaler has yet to record an NHL point, but offense is not his game. He is a physical defenseman with a similar playing style to the veteran Orpik, but much more mobile. He has not looked out of place at all since coming to the NHL despite regularly playing on a third pair with either Djoos or Madison Bowey, both of whom are only in their second NHL season.

If Siegenthaler keeps up his current rate of play, it will be very difficult to send him back to Hershey even after Djoos and Orpik return from injury.

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